The fact that the guy is a big, tall, handsome college football player might have something to do with his reaction. He just flashed his award-winning smile, and all was good with the world. (Think of Gaston from “Beauty and The Beast”, and you’ll have a mental picture of this guy.) I’m sure he’s been embarrassed with a fumble or a tackle here and there while playing football, so in the case of the communion fumble, he didn’t take himself too seriously but just remedied the situation and laughed it off. That made my mind wander to thinking about how different people handle embarrassment in different ways. I used to not be very good at handling embarrassment. In fact, I’m pretty sure something like picking up the base with the communion trays would have cause me to never serve again. That was before I had kids and before I started randomly falling down in various public venues.
As I sat in church, my mind drifted from thinking about Mr. Football’s reaction to my reactions when I am embarrassed. I used to embarrass so easily, and I never forgave myself for stupid things I did. If I wanted to, to this day I could tell you stupid things I did 30 years ago. I’m not going to, but I could. (Stop begging. I’m not telling you.) Now, while I still don’t forgive myself very easily, I have at least learned how to laugh and shake it off instead of taking everything so personally. I’ve had lots of practice laughing at myself…I’m a faller, remember.
During the collection of the contribution, I had to go the restroom. I was trying to wait until we sang again, but then the speaker said, “and now I have a few verses for you.” I knew I couldn’t wait for a few verses, so I got up and left. As I gracefully walked up the aisle in my cute but deadly high heeled sandals that are like flip flops on steroids, my foot slipped off the shoe and my ankle gave out. I almost landed on a man sitting on the end of the aisle. Talk about an embarrassing situation! The whole congregation was sitting down, and I was standing in the aisle. The fact that I almost took a dive had to be obvious to anyone with eyes.
Let me make a few observations about this situation. First, that’s what I get for letting my mind wander in church. I shouldn’t have been thinking about embarrassment and how it can be handled. It was like wishing it upon myself. Second, I should never put lotion on my feet when I am going to wear the deadly heels. Third, high heels are not good when you have a broken big toe that hasn’t heeled after 3 months. Fourth, I really should know better than to wear heels at all.
So, as I almost fell onto the man’s lap, I heard him say, “Oh. Are you okay?” All eyes in that part of the church were on me, because everyone else was letting their mind wander from the contribution lesson that was going on. So, this was it: the moment of truth. How would I respond to the embarrassment? My response was a quiet (hopefully quiet) little chuckle. I kept my head down and kept walking. I heard several people snicker around me, but I’m just going to assume they were laughing with me and not at me.
I got out of the auditorium and stopped to let my ankle stop throbbing. I was embarrassed, but I thought, “Ah. They’ve seen worse.” I went to the restroom and went back to my seat. This time, I waited until the congregation was standing to sing. That way, at least if I tripped again, it wouldn’t be so obvious.
There was a time that I would have been humiliated by falling down in church. Gone are those days. Now, I’m a mother, and I can’t be embarrassed. (Okay, I can, but it doesn’t last long.)
My lack of embarrassment might have something to do with how many times my children have humiliated me. I can think of many ways they have embarrassed me, but I won’t name them all to spare their reputations. I’ll just say this, and any mother will feel my pain. The Beetle was a puker. He barfed everywhere. He has thrown up in front of countless restaurants in the greater Tampa Bay area; some of them multiple times.
The worst time the Beetle threw up was at a quaint little 5 star restaurant at a cute little inn. We had taken my mother-in-law there for Mother’s Day. The Beetle had been drinking chocolate milk when he declared that he had to throw up. Now, he had done this often enough, that if he made the declaration, we moved. I jumped up and moved with him as quickly as I could. Unfortunately, we were seated in the very back of a long, winding restaurant, and the restroom was at the very front. I held a cloth napkin over his mouth as I ran with him. He was too big for me to carry, so I was literally dragging him through the place. He threw up from the very back of the restaurant to the very front. And, he didn’t just throw up. He threw up chocolate milk. Any mothers who are reading this know that there is no smell worse than milk vomit, except for chocolate milk vomit. It is horrific.
We left a trail of chocolate milk puke throughout the restaurant. I ended up throwing away the cloth and throwing away the Beetle’s shirt. Luckily, I had on a shirt with a tank top underneath, so I took off my tank top for him to wear. That was a Mother’s Day breakfast we will never forget. Apparently, the restaurant employees did not forget it either, because they remembered us a year later.
So, when I do stupid things like fall into the laps of men at church, I have to laugh at myself. Really, in the grand scheme of things, does it matter? I’m pretty sure I’m not successfully maintaining an image of having “it” all together anyway, so what harm can a little bobble here and there do? If anything, it proves that I am human. Okay, so maybe I’m really human. I am probably the most human human you will ever meet. Being human is one of my specialties. –Al, the human